Medical Phase complete… wow!
One year ago yesterday I wrote a blog post on this site talking about how crazy it was that I was picked to attend Pre-selection. If you had said then that in a year I would be a paramedic, I would have laughed… Yet here we are…
The last 4 months have consisted of everything from how to talk to different types of patients (kids vs adults, trauma vs sick people) all the way to how to manage a traumatic event that you and a team member are responsible for administering medical assistance.
:Above, my lovely course-mates were practicing strapping patients to a spine board, that patient was me on this day… and they left me like this…
We have learned:
Needles, drawing meds, different meds and what they do/how they work, IV lines, drilling into peoples bones, fractures, spine problems, psychiatric, taking vitals, extricating people from vehicles, dissecting organs, cpr, shoving tubes down throats, how to give birth, how to stick a needle in someones chest… you name it (in terms of emergency medicine) and we covered it in quite a short amount of time. At times it was quite overwhelming… a lot of written and practical tests, a lot of studying after hours, and very long days.
:above is Alfred “Turn Around” Barr about to get his flu shot. Already has a sucker..
:Above, doing a skills station on head injuries and amputations
Above: We used animal bones with similar anatomy to that of a human bone to practice drilling needles into it.
The phase ended with all of us going to various parts of British Columbia and working on an ambulance… practicing our new skills on real patients. It was a blast! Depending on where you worked, you saw different types of people. Vancouver was a lot of drug addicts, homeless, and very very sick old people. The island saw a mix of calls, and all together all 11 of us interacted with a lot of different patients and saw a lot of cool stuff.
Emergency medicine is difficult to teach because you don’t have an actual sick person in front of you when you’re learning. But it was cool to goto real sick people and see how far we’ve come, in terms of our ability to help people who are in need, in just 12 weeks!
:Above is drPJ Seal and Big Daddy practicing breaking into a car. We also used the jaws of life and basically spent 3 hours destroying cars.
So i’ll tell 1 story and that’ll be that for now (there are far too many, so ask next time we talk)… I (well me and the crew i was with) saved someone’s life, I can’t describe the feeling and I’m not trying to boast at all! But it’s why I wanted this job and it was awesome!
This guy overdosed on an awful drug called fentenal. It makes you stop breathing and kills you. The idea from drug dealers is if someone overdoses on their drug laced with fentenal, more people will buy the drug for its “potency”… a couple deaths for more clients, awful… anyway… girlfriend called the ambulance and she was freaking out. We show up and start breathing for him with a bag that pushes air into his body. I got a tube down his nose to make sure air would get into his lungs. We got access to his veins to administer a drug we carry called Naloxone. This drug reverses narcotics, In this case the narcotic causing him to not be responsive or capable of breathing… very cool! So we give a bunch of this drug and he slowly started waking up. After a while he was more awake and started crying his eyes out (due to confusion and realizing he just died and shouldn’t be alive)… he explained that he took a pill he sort of knew what it was but didn’t realize it had fentenal in it… all of that was great and was really cool, but nothing beat this…….
A few hours later I was in the hospital and the guy saw me, he was still in a bed getting medication and he waved me over. This big tough guy started choking up trying to come up with words to thank us for saving him. He knew how serious Fentenal is, he knew he was dead… and he knew we saved his life. That will stay with us for ever…
:Above, me holding a heart… Not that guys heart… but a heart..
So what does this mean? Short answer is that we are SAR Tech paramedics… Long answer is we are very far from fully trained SAR Techs. Medical is only one aspect of search and rescue. If you cant find a patient, you cant get to a patient safely, and you have no idea how to survive with a patient… you can know all the medicine in the world and you’ll still die. So that is what the rest of the course will teach us…We now know what to do when we get to a patient, let’s learn how to find and get to them… it’s going to be fucking awesome.